Composer Ludwig Goransson once said Le New York Times that Jon Favreau’s explanation of the Mandalorian as a character was “a lone rider and a samurai”. These two inspirations follow one another The Mandalorian, but they also date back to the beginnings of Star Wars. Han Solo is the ultimate renegade space cowboy, and the rigor of the Jedi code evokes the code of the samurai lifestyle.
In fact, these two genres are more similar than you might think. Western films have borrowed ideas from samurai films since their genesis and from one of the most famous samurai films, Kurosawa The Seven Samurai, was remade in the United States as The Magnificent Seven. This influence went both ways and the two genres were in regular conversation throughout the ’60s and beyond.
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Star Wars chose the best of both genres and cooked it all in a space opera setting. Blasters and jokes came from westerns, while sword fights and ceremonies came from samurai. Probably the best-known point of reference for George Lucas’ influence is another Kurosawa film, The hidden fortress, who told the story of two peasants who help a princess in a dangerous situation, basically the principle of A new hope.
“I decided that would be a good way to tell the Star Wars story, which was to take the two lower characters, like Kurosawa did, and tell the story from their perspective,” which in the case of Star Wars is the two droids, ”Lucas said in an interview in 2001.
And came The Mandalorian, and every aspect of these genres has been taken up a notch. Mando and Baby Yoda have become a galactic Lone Wolf and Cub, complete with a protective cradle. In Season 2, the Western influence was so blatant that the premiere was essentially a narration from a John Wayne movie. He even brought in a modern Western character actor (Timothy Olyphant) to play Marshal Cobb Vanth.
Each episode that followed was an exercise in how the Star Wars universe could be used to explore a different genre, whether it was the Chapter 10 Cab Driver movie, the Chapter 11 Pirates, or a heist of the chapter 12. Although none of the genres were major influences on The Mandalorian overall, they each had their own unique style while remaining true to the overall aesthetic of the series.
Chapter 13, “The Jedi,” brings this genre full circle by taking the show back to its roots – a good old-school samurai story. Ahsoka is a vigilante who stealthily attacks the magistrate under cover of night. If you didn’t know otherwise, you’d think some of these scenes came straight out of a Kurosawa movie.
In the same episode we also have the story of a wise warrior presented with a young apprentice. Ahsoka’s time with Grogu (yes, Yellow, get used to) feels like the most Star Wars moment of the entire episode, mirroring both Obi-Wan’s encounter with Luke and Qui-Gon’s interactions with Anakin. however, The Mandalorian departs from tradition when Ahsoka rejects the offer to teach her. She’s now on her own mission, one that sort of involves Grand Admiral Thrawn.
While the episode also screams out its Western influences – like this epic shootout with Michael Biehn – the mood of the episode: the dark forest, the oriental-style alarm bell, and the beskar stick versus double saber fight. laser are all tributes to samurai culture. . There were even “assassin droids” scaling the rooftops of the village like ninjas, though they were not up to Mando’s blaster.
After 43 years of samurai-influenced media, Star Wars has finally leaned hard towards the genre, and the result is what a growing number of fans are calling the best episode of. The Mandalorian episode again. Perhaps this is the start of a revival of original Star Wars influences, bringing the franchise back to what made it great so many years ago.
At the very least, it’s nice to see series co-creator Dave Filoni (who wrote and directed this standout episode) openly giving credit to international influences that are often overlooked. The Mandalorian and in Star Wars in general.
The Mandalorian Season 2 is now streaming on Disney +.